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Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Volume. 34, Number 12. June 16, 1971

Ian Dunn on Rugby

Ian Dunn on Rugby

In a previous colum I wrote about the duty of players to the club, and it seems appropriate that some reference should be made to the duty of the club (and this means the administrators) to the players. Our club is singularly fortunate in having forceful articulate representation from active playing members on the Committee. This is important because in Rugby it is the players who matter most and certain administrators, particularly those in the higher echelons of N.Z. Rugby, should it seems, be constantly reminded of this rule.

The most important official from the players' point of view is obviously the coach. His job is demanding, time consuming, often frustrating, but deeply rewarding, particularly when he sees players executing moves and plays he has shown to them. Really, the only worthwhile coach is the man who, while petting his own way with them, is the players' friend, helpmate and guide and yet who makes himself subservient to the team and its members.

The team manager is important too, in looking after the multitude of tiresome tasks associated with running a Rugby team, so that the players and the coach are free to concentrate on their duties. Other officials, involved as they are in the routine administration of the club, ensure reasonably smooth behind-the-scenes operation of such facilities as the social rooms which form an integral part of the club's activities. But remember, when you are ready to criticise some aspect of the club's administration, that the officials devote their time simploy because of their love for the game and respect for the players.

While on the subject of criticism I now intend to use this column to openly present the factual position regarding one of the select group of sides in the club (Junior 2nd, 7th and President's "B") which are leading their respective grades. John Frazer and his players in the Junior 7th grade have earned a mass of points with strong forward play and hard running backline while the Junior Presidents team produces a happy blend of Taranaki-style forward play and ideal university back play as they go on their winning way.

Any person connected with the club will be aware of my direct association with the Junior 2nd side which, as yet, is unbeaten. Criticism has been voiced that this side includes too many players who are too good for the grade and should be in higher divisions. Let's have some facts, not uninformed gossip, about this. Four members of the side are aged 18, eleven are 19, four are 20 and one 21. With an average age then of just over 19 that hardly puts them in the class of the "older players" (to quote Mick Bremner) who qualifies for the Senior grades -anyway the length of their hair would militate against selection for the A's!!

Have a look at their playing back-grounds from last year also - 6 are first year students who attended college in 1970, 7 played under 19 Rugby, 5 played Junior 3rd and 2 Junior 1st. Hardly the background which would suggest Junior 2nd is a grade beneath their abilities particularly if one notes the size of the Juniors 1st sqaud.

The success of the squad is due to forceful and positive on-the-field leadership plus a team-spirit which Would be the equal, at the very least, of that shown by any other team in the club, or indeed the competition.

Many of those who have criticised this team and attempted to degenerate its efforts have never seen them play a full game... and so they are worse than uninformed critics, and seem to be motivated more by jealousy than any desire to present constructive criticism.

I make no apology for using this column to present the facts of the matter and publicly criticize those who have acted in the way I have described.

Next time we will have a look at the Clubs Junior 3rd sides.